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tv   MSNBC Live With Katy Tur  MSNBC  August 6, 2018 11:00am-12:01pm PDT

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msnbc live. katy tur joins me now. >> we have quite a timeline for you. so buckle your seatbelts, everyone. 11:00 a.m. out west and 2:00 p.m. in the east. this hour on msnbc, what happened on june 9th, 2016? because the official story keeps changing. this weekend in a tweet responding to a "washington post" report that the president was worried about how don jr. was ensnared in the russia probe, the president said the trump tower meeting between his eldest son, campaign chairman and son-in-law was, quote, to get information on an opponent, totally legal and done all the time in politics, and it went nowhere. i did not know about it. that right there is just the latest shift in a story that has shifted multiple times since the meeting was revealed by "the new york times" last summer. first on july 8th, 2017, in a statement issued on behalf of don jr., the meeting was, quote, primarily about russian adoptions. then on june 9th, after "the new
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york times" reports don jr., july 9th, excuse me, was offering damaging information on hillary clinton, quote, no details or supporting information was provided or offered. then on july 11th, "the new york times" publishes emails between don jr. and the man organizing the meeting, rob goldstone, that reveal the meeting was supposed to yield, quote, official documents and information that would incriminate hillary. and that donald trump jr. responded by saying, if it's what you say, i love it. to get out ahead of that story, don jr. changed his line again. the information they suggested they had about hillary clinton i thought was political opposition research. that's not all, guys. just days later the president's lawyer said he was not involved in drafting the statement. on july 31, "the washington post" reports trump himself personally dictated the first statement. a day later sarah sanders said
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he didn't take date it, but he did weigh in like any father would do. a year later on june 2nd of this year trump's own lawyers admitted in a memo to robert mueller that, yes, the president himself did dictate the trump tower statement, but no collusion. so why is the president getting involved in this again? is it as "the washington post" reports, quote, that trump has confided in friends and advisors that he is worried the mueller probe could destroy the lives of what he calls innocent and decent people? namely, trump jr. and why, and is that why don jr. was talking about it again today to a friendly voice? >> donny, did the issue of adoption, it's near and dear to my heart because i have two russian adopted sons, did that come up? >> when? >> in the meeting with the -- >> like i said, that was the primary thing that we spoke about in the meeting. that was, you know, that's not
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the premise that got them in the room. and then they started -- it was essentially a bait-and-switch to talk about that. and everyone has basically said that in testimony already. >> and why was hope hicks with the president this weekend at his rally in ohio? she quit the white house earlier this year and is still under scrutiny for her role in crafting that initial statement, dictated to her by the president aboard air force one. lots of why's today. the question is, did the president just make the case for collusion or obstruction against his campaign stronger? joining me nbc chief white house correspondent hallie jackson in new jersey. "washington post" white house bureau chief phil rucker, also an msnbc political analyst, and former fbi sore official chuck rosenberg and former u.s. attorney joyce vance. they are both msnbc contributors as well. hallie, i want to start with you. this has changed so many different times. i know the president was responding to the "washington post" over the weekend, but how
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are his lawyers today trying to, i guess, clean this up? >> well, there is not a whole lot to be able to clean up when the president tweets something in black and white and in plain english for everybody to read that is the opposite of what he said as you laid out the evolution of this over the last year and a half or so. the opposite of what the president said a year ago. now, one of his attorneys is saying i got bad information initially, presumably from his client when jay sekulow and others worked to frame this as something that was not, in fact, troublesome for president trump. so that begs one question, which is did jay sekulow get lied to by his client? did jay sekulow do the lying for his client, if in fact he knew the truth? if either of those are true, then why and how do you fix that moving forward. i think that's a question the president's legal team would be asking. right now the president's lawyers are focused though on what is happening with the
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special counsel investigation and specifically this request from robert mueller to be able to have enter actions to peek with president trump. we know based on our reporting at this unit that today or tomorrow is likely when rudy giuliani and the president's legal team plans to be able to submit a response to the special counsel team. so that is potentially the next shoe to drop here. that is much of the focus. >> phil rucker, you wrote a story about what's going on privately, the president privately broading and roaring out loud. you said he confided to forensic and advisors he is worried the mueller probe could destroy the lives of innocent and decent people, namely trump jr., who is under scrutiny by mueller in organizing this june 26 meeting at trump tower. as one advisor described the president's thinking, he does not think his son broke the law, but is fearful that trump jr. inadvertently may have wandered into legal jeopardy.
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>> that's right, katy. you know, the president tweeted sunday in response to our article that he is not worried about don jr., but people who have been talking to him on the phone say in fact he is worried about his son. he is worried about a lot of aspects related to this russia probe, which is getting closer and closer to him, to his family, to his associates, to his orbit. it's uncomfortable at the moment. there is some concern that he has that his son may be found to have violated the law somehow, you know. one person speculated maybe his son could have perjured himself in interviews at some point. i mean, the president just doesn't know at this point what could be in store for his son. it is a source of concern and it's one of many things that's fueling what we're seeing, which is a real public lashing by the president of mueller again and again and again, tweeting more than he has before about the witch hunt, calling out mueller by name, really stepping up his pr blitz against this russia
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investigation. >> and phil, what do you know about why hope hicks was with the president over the weekend? she quit the white house a few months back and she is also the person who he dictated that stateme statement to. any indication where why she was out with the president over the weekend? >> you know, there is no public indication, katy. i don't think, based on my reporting, that she is coming back into the white house to work. i think she has been living in new york of late, and i suspect she was just down there for a couple of days to catch up with people and visit with the president. but she is not coming back into work in the white house as far as we know. >> kmuk, do you see any issues with hope hicks showing up at this event? >> absolutely. it's elementary if you are a defense lawyer you tell your clients not to talk to anybody who might be a witness in this investigation. we know hope hicks is a witness in this investigation. we have her on air force one helping to draft the statement,
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which has caused so much unrest. i cannot imagine her lawyer would want her alone with the president. i cannot imagine the president's lawyer would want him alone with hope hicks. it could be completely innocent. maybe they are catching up on old friends or her job hunt or whatever it may be, but there is that concern that they are talking about the case. you know what that does? it gives bob mueller and his team a reason to talk to hope hicks again. to the extent they complain this taking too long, they ought to stop creating evidence. >> can the president invoke executive privilege is hope hicks is no longer an employee of the white house? >> that's exactly right. no. she is not an employee of the white house. it can't be executive privilege. moreover, it can't be attorney/client privilege because she is not his attorney. if no attorney was present , an even if there was an attorney present, that is not attorney/client privilege. it requires a private conversation between an attorney and her lieclient.
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having a third person there, a hope hicks, for instance, would object i ha obviate the privilege. >> in "the new yorker," it was possible days ago to believe with generosity towards the president and hess time that the meeting was about adoption, went nowhere, and was overblown by the administration's men meece. no longer. the open questions are far more nair oechlt was this narrow. is attempted collusion a crime? what legal and moral responsibilities did the president and his team have when he realized that the proposed collusion was underway when the dnc emails were leaked and published? and crucially, what did the president know before the election, after it, and when he instructed his son to lie? i'm focusing on one part of this. is attempted collusion a crime? >> so collusion is a word that many of us have rejected in favor of conspiracy, but i think collusion is helpful in many ways because it describes this
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entire course of conduct, this effort really to defraud the united states, which we see part of that conspiracy on the russian side. and the question you are asking, indica katy, could there be a conspiracy that involves the americans, that involves the president, people high up in his campaign, and this more sophisticated question of is attempt enough? even if they weren't successful, could efforts that they made be enough? for instance, we see them going into this meeting, which the president has now characterized as an effort to obtain assistance from the russians. we know that the russians were putting information on the table. this wasn't opposition research. opposition research is when you go in and pay someone for their research services. this was a meeting that was, in essence, an effort to obtain stolen emails, to obtain ill gotten goods to be used in the campaign, and i think attempt is likely a charge as anything
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else, although it looks like they were fully successful as the emails were later released, perhaps in response to the president's request for russia to find hillary's emails. >> chuck, what is the significance of the story changing over and over again? from a layman's perspective, if a person tells me one thing and then tells me another thing and a third thing, i will start to believe that that person isn't telling me the truth about any of it. is that how a prosecutor might look at what the president has done? >> you'd make a good prosecutor. >> i mean, thatelementary. >> you don't have to rehearse the truth. you don't have to commit the truth to memory. the truth is the truth. and everybody who sees the color of the light knows it's red, doesn't have to remind themselves that it's red. doesn't have to tell folks it was green. the truth is easy. what's hard is keeping up with the changing stories. when prosecutors see stories change over time, that really
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raises red flags. may i add one thing? joyce nailed it in terms of conspiracy law. the other important point here, katy, is that not all conspirators have to start on the same day. if you and joyce decide to rob a bank, i could join your conspiracy two weeks later. we know from the gru indictment that a lot of the activity, the russian intelligence officers trying to hack into the dnc started in march and april of 2016 two or three months before the trump tower meeting. that doesn't mean that folks couldn't have joined the conspiracy at that meeting. you can join a conspiracy while it's in the process. so there is lots of legal questions and lots of evidence that the mueller folks have to look at. >> phil, a lot has happened in the last few weeks in terms of the mueller investigation and the changing stories. could the president be feeling a bit boxed in, more box in now than he has yet? >> for me? >> no, phil.
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>> oh, yeah, he could be boxed in, certainly. i think he feels that way. he certainly appears to be feeling that way based on the anxiety that he is showing publicly in his comments. there are a couple other things going on right now. he is trying to decide whether to do that interview with robert mueller. that's a really consequence juncture for him. it could expose him to some jeopardy, which is why his lawyers are very hesitant to let him do that. but he, of course, thinks he can convince mueller. so he wants to speak. so that's going on. they are also waiting for any potential future indictments. there is a feeling that something may be afoot in the special counsel's office. they are waiting for that. >> one last question to joyce. joyce, in this idea that the president needs to decide on whether he is going to sit down with mueller this next week, could that be a time constraint mueller put on trump's team rather than rudy giuliani just saying off the top of his head we are going to decide in a
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week? >> it's hard to know. obviously, giuliani thinks it benefits the president to keep this story that the president is contemplating an interview in front of the public. but i have honestly lost track of how many times over how many months, right, we have seen this headline. the president will decide within the next dten days. this is more special counsel's call than it is the president's, although i would say he may have actually given them a little bit of additional umh to their request to interview them with the tweet. under doj policy, although it's unusual to interview someone who a target, and we have been told he is not formally a target, but he is being considered, he seems to have information that's uniquely in his possession that special counsel can't get from talking with anyone else. they may expand the areas they wish to question him about. >> interesting point.
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we don't blame you for having a hard time keeping track. joyce vance, thanks for sticking around. phil and chuck, thank you very much. and liar versus liar. is robert mueller's star witness in the paul manafort case as trustworthy as prosecutors need him to be? through ancestry, through dna i found out that i was only 16% italian. he was 34% eastern european. so i went onto ancestry, soon learned that one of our ancestors we thought was italian was eastern european. this is my ancestor who i didn't know about. he looks a little bit like me, yes. ancestry has many paths to discovering your story. get started for free at ancestry.com ♪ it is such a good time to dance ♪ ♪ it is such a good time to [ laughing ] ♪ scoobidoo doobidoo ♪ scoobidoo doobidoo [ goose honking ] ♪
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it is week two of the paul manafort trial and prosecutors in the case against the former campaign chairman say they are
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ahead of schedule. they went into great detail about his money. manafort's lawyers tried to shift the blame to his former business partner, rick gates. as "the associated press" notes, the defense team has already signaled it will paint gates as an embezzler and liar who took advantage of manafort and flouted the law with his boss' nong. the bookkeeper testified that she communicated with rick gates on business expenses from time to time, but manafort alone handled his personal expenses. this week we expect to hear from rick gates, who is now the prosecution's star witness, but will he be a reliable one? "the washington post" reports to prove manafort is a liar, prosecutors will rely in part on gates. someone with a long track record of lying. even when gates met with prosecutors in february to try to win a plea deal, he lied. to get an agreement, gates had to admit to that lie.
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joining me "washington post" national security reporter develin barrett. he is the author of that piece in "the post." back with us, former u.s. attorney joyce vance. what should we expect this week? >> i think this is going to be where both sides go pretty hard at each other. the prosecutors, because they think rick gates really puts all of the blame for this on manafort, and the defense because they think that rick gates is a weak enough witness, a witness who brings so many problems to the table that maybe, if by making rick gates look bad, they can make the entire prosecution case look bad. >> remind us again. gates in the manafort world, what was he in charge of, what was he doing, does the defense have a leg to stand on when they say gates was the one really running the business? >> well, gates was in some ways doing a lot of the day-to-day management of manafort's business. it is certainly true in the emails that have been introduced
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into evidence so far show gates is the one providing information to accountants or bookkeepers. it's certainly true that gates played a direct role in forwarding this information that the government says are clearly lies, but the government's point is that he did that at manafort's direction. if gates lied, he lied because he was doing what manafort wanted. and that's going to be the argument that's going to play out this week. >> joyce, politico reports that the defense is basically manafort was too busy to cheat the tax man. manafort was so busy, the defense argues, he wouldn't have had much time to get into the details of which accounts were used to pay his bills, but while it seems indisputable that manafort sometimes had a hectic schedule, it's not as if he was all work and no play. he doesn't seem to have been too busy to visit tayloreilors to b fitted for custom-made suits or to pick out the ostrich or
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python jackets or take advantage of the new york yankees season tickets he owned. >> so defendants will often go for this sort of a strategy when they really have an empty hand. you have to find someone else to blame. but it's difficult forman, after last week's testimony, in which his accountants testified that he was intimately involved in signing off on the final details. sure, gates was in the mix. that's why he'll be a witness and potentially a powerful one for the government, but it will be difficult for the jury to set aside the testimony that they heard last week and lay it all off on gates, which is what manafort needs them to do if he is going to be acquitted. >> joyce, develin puts this very well. whom to believe? the accused liar or the admitted one? what is a more, i guess, trust both source? the person that you are trying to point as a liar or the person that has already lied but at the least has admitted to it?
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>> prosecutors never get to pick their own witnesses. i mean, if we did, we would not pick someone like gates as a witness, right? you would pick a priest or a teacher or a choir boy. in reality, it's manafort who chose gates as a witness, and that says a lot about the fact that the two of them were in league together. the prosecution's job here will be to support gates' newly found credibility either with documentary evidence, with other witnesses, with circumstantial guarantees of his truthfulness now. but the prosecution won't soft sell him to the jury. they will come upfront and explain to the jury in excruciating detail his misdeeds and what brought him to this moment and why the jury should be able to trust his testimony in the courtroom under oath today and tomorrow. >> we will see what happens and when rick gates takes the stand. develin barrett and joyce vance, thank you very much. and there is fear in ohio that a district that has been
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red since the '80s might go blue in tomorrow's special election. could it be the trump effect? the fact is, there are over ninety-six hundred roads named "park" in the u.s. it's america's most popular street name. but allstate agents know that's where the similarity stops. if you're on park street in reno, nevada, the high winds of the washoe zephyr could damage your siding. and that's very different than living on park ave in sheboygan, wisconsin, where ice dams could cause water damage. but no matter what park you live on, one of 10,000 local allstate agents knows yours. now that you know the truth, are you in good hands?
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i want to take you back to november 4th, 1980.
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louisa, get your hand out of the camera. sorry about that. back to 1980. a gallon of gas cost about $1.20. a woman in love by barbra streisand was number one on the billboard hot -- 100. it was also the last time a democrat was elected in ohio's 12th congressional district. now almost 28 years later republicans are worried that ohio's 12th could turn blue in tomorrow's special election. the reason? the republican in the white house. >> the chaos that seems to surround donald trump has unnerved a lot of people. suburban women in particular here are the ones that are really turned off. you add to that the millennials, you have it very close. it's really kind of shocking because this should be just a slam dunk and it's not. >> joining me bloomberg politics national reporter sahil kapor
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and steve kornacki. steve, why are the republicans worried about ohio? >> we have had so many special elections. we have seen this pattern of democrats improving on how they did in 2016. in this district in ohio, the columbus suburbs, this is the pattern here. how many times have we seen this story of double-digit gains for the democrats versus the 2016 margin. that's what it would take, a double-digit gain. democrats would win this district and polls have shown it basically dead even heading into tomorrow. here is the fascinating thing. take a look at this district. this is one trump won by 11, romney won by 11. this district sort of a little bit of columbus, ohio, and then it goes out wards into rural areas and into some small cities. this is a tale of two scientist. this is the fascinating. tale of two americas, if you will. right here columbus and delaware county, this is the kind -- this is the part of america that
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swung away from trump in 2016. college educated, white color, a lot of suburban upscale neighborhoods. this swung away from trump in 2016. the rest of the district though up here, down here, complete opposite. how many times have we talked about blue collar white colleges? noncollege. 15 to 30 point gains for donald trump in 2016. so basically the name of the game for democrats is, hey, they want to drive upturnout in and around the columbia area. in these outlying areas if they do what barack obama did here four years ago, eight years ago, 2012, 2008, they could win the district. >> how worried are republicans about women in particular, and why could that be an opening, a weak spot for the president? >> well, they are worried, and for good reason. if republicans lose this race, it would be a tsunami warning for a blue wave in november.
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three months from today the midterm elections. this represents the preponderance of white suburban college educated voters. it's the most college educated district in ohio. those are the voters one strategist on the republican side called them the kasich republicans who moved away from donald trump. troy balder son, his task between now and the election tomorrow has been and will continue to be to fire up the base, which is predominantly trump voters, while also appealing to the kasich republicans. can you bring in donald trump and mike pence and sound the notes of crime, open borders, liberal resistance, that stuff they wanted, while winning over the moderate republicans who have been turning away from the party lately? that is where democrats feel optimistic. they think they can peel off some of those republicans, particularly women, katy, to your point, who have turned away from the gop. >> remember the soft republicans, soft democrats were
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helped to trump's side in 2016 because of wikileaks. he was waving those around and he had the confirmation bias to play on with hillary clinton. she is crooked, vote for me. that helped him with those republicans and those democrats. steve, i want to talk about the democrats. there is an interesting story that i guess we are not covering as much as we would normally be covering it because the president tweets and says wacky things all the time. there is i don't want to call it a war, but a battle between the progressive side and the traditional side. we are seeing emily's list versus bernie sanders' folks. >> yeah. we say there is the special election in ohio. there are primaries tomorrow, candidates being picked for the general election. one in michigan for the governor's race. it matches up two major sources of emergency in the democratic party the last couple of years against each other. the bernie sanders wing of the democratic party, which we saw their power with the grassroots in 2016. michigan the state that bernie sanders upset hillary clinton and gave his campaign a new
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burst of momentum. on the other side what we have seen this year, one of the stories in the primaries so far, female candidates running in democratic primaries. their win rate, their success rate, there is a strong appetite among democratic voters, specifically in the trump area, in response so donald trump, to get behind female candidates. on the one hand you have a female candidate. you have a bernie sanders candidate, a very interesting sort of clash there. >> and i have been talking to some prominent democrats, some 2020 democrats about the midterms and what they expect. there is some frustration with who the dcc has been endorsing and where they have been putting their money and whether they have been endorsing the women who are these upstarts, the women who have had all the momentum in these primaries and these special elections. >> right. there has been a battle of sorts happening between the progressive wing and the dccc. the progressive argue they have been slow to back some of the more, you know, grassroots
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candidates who are pulling energy on their side. i think the michigan gubernatorial primary that steve mentioned is a fascinating indication of that bernie versus hillary struggle which is so enduring because they do represent polar, you know, the ideological poles of the democratic party and the progressive wing of the emily's list backed candidate who vastly outraised one of her two opponents and the other one is backed by bernie sanders, backed by alexandria ocasio-cortez. >> welcome back from vacation. >> thank you, a good week to come back. >> we will talk to you tomorrow. whatever happens, what will happen, we should say. next up, quote, trump will have glad on his hands. but maybe not for people with rheumatoid arthritis. because there are options. like an "unjection™". xeljanz xr. a once-daily pill for adults with moderate to severe ra for whom methotrexate did not work well enough. xeljanz xr can reduce pain, swelling and further joint
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sandy hook, it's got inside job written all over it. i mean, even i couldn't believe it. i knew they jumped on it, used the crisis, hyped it up. i did deep research and, my gosh, it just pretty much didn't happen. >> alex jones is a liar and now the conspiracy theorist is getting cut off. facebook and youtube now join apple and spotify in refusing to allow jones a platform. joining me nbc's jo ling kent. you cover business porus. why are these companies doing this now? >> well, they are trying to cut off this spread of conspiracy
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theories. i want to tell you, we did a little bit of digging around the apple story. yes, the podcast, the library of podcasts from infowars and alex jones have been taken down. however, the infowars official app is still available on the app store. we have reached out to apple to ask why apply one standard it the podcast and something else to the apps. we are waiting for an answer on that front. there is a lot of pressure on silicon valley right now, public pressure, pressure from journalists to stem these conspiracy theories from where they originate from. we are talking about bogus theories that have been the subject of complaints and threats to many victims' families when it comes to sandy hook elementary school, the las vegas massacre. so that public pressure is ramping up now, in part because we are starting to see further investigation of the role of these social media platforms as it relates not to just conspiracy theories, the upcoming midterm elections and a reckoning of what happened in 2016. it's a confluence of several
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factors. >> we are seeing these companies getting more scrutiny today than they did before, after what happened in 2016 when so much fake, real actual fake news was spread on facebook and sites like twitter when there was division being created by these rune bots, who people looked towards those social media companies and no longer saw them as a place to connect with friends or families and share ideas but as a place that was potentially not just negative, but nefarious, a place intending to deceive and divide the american public in order to influence the election in a negative way or for one side or the other. because of that, is that why alex jones, who has been around for many years now, he has been saying this crazy stuff, he has been lying for many years now, is that why the intense pressure is on these companies to take people like him off? and after all, we should mention that the president has indirectly endorsed alex jones. he has gone on his radio show or
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his pod -- whatever it is, the youtube, podcast show, a youtube show. >> the live stream. >> thank you very much. and he's said what a wonderful man he is and how he appreciates the endorsement he gave him. >> yeah. this really is a moment for the tech industry, a reckoning, a coordination perhaps. apple taking much of the lead. tim cook has always done that in a way when it comes to major public issues, when it comes to the public debate. then we have mark zuckerberg following. however, alex jones is still very much active on twitter. he is still verified. he is still tweeting, putting out not just links to live streams, but this tweet that we want to share with you right now, he says they have been completely banned on facebook, apple, and spotify, and they are worried about what conservative outlet will be next. he tweets the one platform they can't ban is his own platform. so he's trying to drum up support there. but what we are seeing is a slight reckoning, but the issue really here is will these tech
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companies admit to being a media company? for so long it's been about the open public square and having it a place to have freedom of speech. now they are starting to see some of those society divisions really coming to fruition here. a lot of these top tech ceos and the executives that surround them are telling me they are thinking twice about what's bei going on. >> alex jones may want to lump himself into conservative outlets. he is a conspiracy theorist who has lied repeatedly. thank you so much for joining us today. >> thanks, katy. the president made a dangerous accusation over the weekend claiming journalists can cause war. it's not clear what he is referring to, but one can deduce he might be talking about a widely declaimed claim sarah huckabee sanders resurfaced last week. >> we fully support a free press, but there comes a high level of responsibility with that. one of the worst cases was the
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reporting on the u.s. ability to listen to osama bin laden's satellite phone in the late '90s. the country lost valuable intelligence. >> that claim was made in the best selling book then validated by the 9/11 commission and repeated by president george w. bush. here is the thing. it is not drew. bin laden's satellite phone was public knowledge for two years before he went off the grid in 1998. it was first vrevealed in 1996 y the taliban. the suggestion that we in the media caused bin laden to go dark is false. the president is trying to whip up his base. he is trying to blame the division and distrust he is creating on the people who are charged withholding him accountable. the president believes attacking us in the media is a political winner. for some the anger the president is fomenting is turning into actual threats.
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as i shared on friday, i have received them. again, i am not alone. the same day i shared my story, a trump supporter called in to c-span and threatened to shoot cnn anchors brian stelter and don lemon. >> brian stelter and don lemon from cnn called trump supporters all racists. they don't even know us. come on. give me a break. they started the war. i see him, i'm gonna shoot him. bye. >> on sunday, brett stevens from "the new york times" wrote about voicemails he has been recently receiving. one in particular where the caller said, quote, i don't carry an ar, but once we start shooting you, you aren't going to pop off like you do now. you're worthless. in his op-ed stevens warns we are approaching a day when blood on the newsroom floor will be blood on the president's hands.
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these are the only medicare supplement plans endorsed by aarp. learn more about why you should choose an aarp medicare supplement plan. call today for a free guide. and i don't add up the years. but what i do count on is boost®. delicious boost® high protein nuritional drink now has 33% more protein, along with 26 essential vitamins and minerals boost® high protein. be up for life. breaking news in the paul manafort trial. nbc news can confirm that rick gates is at the courthouse today and will be the next to testify.
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gates, manafort's former business partner, is considered the star witness in this case, and has been cooperating with the special counsel's investigation. we will monitor what's happening at the courthouse and we will bring you any developments as soon as we get them. meanwhile, the venezuelaen government harrested six people after an assassination attempt against nicolas maduro. he was suddenly interrupted by a loud bang mid-speech. you see his wife react in that video. bodyguards rushed forward with ballistic blankets to protect him and soldiers in the crowd scattered for cover right there. v venezuela officials say the explosives were dropped from drones flying above. they blame right wing extremists and the government of colombia.
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people there are suffering from severe shortages of medicine, food, and other basic necessities. joining me venezuela correspondent for "the associated press" and nbc news correspondent gabe gutierrez. gabe, give us the breakdown. what exactly what happened this weekend, and are we sure that the venezuelan government's version of events is the actual version of events? >> well, katy, good afternoon. the venezuelan attorney general just said, as you mentioned, six people have been detained. they have now been charged with treason and attempted murder. there is some question about the government's official version of events. you see the video right there from a network that the venezuelan government says was real. that was one of the two drones blowing up in the air according to the government. there initially had been a dispute about what exactly happened. several firefighters on the scene said there may have been a gas leak or explosion at a
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nearby apartment building, but the venezuelan government now says one of the drones was detonated near the presidential stage. the other drone fell into that apartment building. they now say of the six people arrested, one of them had an open arrest warrant for an attack on a military base in 2017. another had been arrested during anti-government protests in 2014. now, as you mentioned, nicolas maduro is blaming far right extremists and also the government of colombia and also saying that opponents here in the u.s. in south florida had helped finance the attack. now, for its part, the colombian government has denied any involvement. national security advisor john bolton has also denied any u.s. government involvement. a little known opposition group in venezuela called soldiers in t-shirts, it has claimed responsibility, although, katy, as you know, it's very difficult to know exactly what may have been behind this attack.
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opponents of the maduro government now say that they fear he will use this incident as a pretext for a harsher political crackdown. >> let's jump off and talk about that. why would there be distrust about this event and distrust that this was something not done by extremists looking to potentially kill or assassinate the president of venezuela but something done by the president himself in order to make it so that he's more popular with the people? >> well, i think what's pretty clear at this point is that this was an event, an attack, a couple of explosions that happened in pretty short order that, you know, really did startle the president and i did speak with some people who say in fact it was a couple of drones. talked to some folks in the neighborhood who said they saw the drone. they heard and felt the explosions, which were terrifying. certainly the maduro government
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has some credibility issues and likes to point the finger at other people for causing its problems in the country, but i think there's still a lot of confusion that certainly surrounds this incident. >> talk to me a little bit about what's going on here in this country. we heard scattered reports. on average -- people lost on average 24 pounds in body weight last year. that's how low the supply of food is in that country. the circumstances surrounding the plight of the people and how the government is responding to it, give me a picture of what it's like there right now. >> yeah, people are struggling. food is hard to find. medicine is difficult to find. inflation is soaring. the imf just came out with predictions that inflation this year alone are expected to top 1 million percent. and part of that is cash is very hard to find. so driving around caracas you'll
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see people getting a few cents out of their bank account and buying food. it's really difficult to buy food if you don't have access to money. this is a huge problem in venezuela. >> scott smith and gabe gutierrez, gentlemen, thank you very much. >> thank you. coming up after the break, one more thing. it's pretty amazing out there. the world is full of more possibilities than ever before. and american express has your back every step of the way-
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one more thing before we go.
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imagine a world with heightened tensions, a world with cyber attacks on our elections, a world with russia wants to be friends, and there's only one man who can carry out this mission. >> imagine this arsenal of tactical nuclear weapons falling into the wrong hands. the pentagon never did. >> four minutes ahead of schedule, damn i'm good. >> now a team of terrorists have taken over. >> wake up the president. >> but there's just one thing they didn't count on. the cook. >> that's right. steven seagal. yes, that steven seagal, the cook. despite the fact that his action movies have been going straight to video since 1998, vladimir putin apparently believes seagal is the man for this mission. that he has enough star power to carry it out. the 66-year-old actor was named a special representative by russia's ministry of foreign
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affairs with the goal of bringing the two countries together in the, quote, humanitarian sphere. but it really should not come as a surprise. s seagal and putin are close friends and seagal has defended the russian government saying it's, quote, stupid to think moscow interfered in u.s. elections. seagal also became a russian citizen back in 2016. perhaps seagal will have more success in this role than he's had in hollywood over the past two decades. boom. that will wrap things up for me this hour. ali velshi picks things up right now. ali -- i'm sorry, it's kasie hunt. where's ali? it's kasie hunt! hi there, my friend. >> it's great to see you. i am kasie hunt. hey, it's all good. i am kasie hunt in for ali velshi. we begin with breaking news this hour in the trial of former trump campaign chairman paul manafort. the first trial in the special counsel's investigation. the prosecution's star witness,
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manafort's long-time business partner, rick gates, is about to take the stand in the bank and tax fraud trial. gates was originally charged as a co-conspirator in manafort's case, but he's been cooperating with prosecutors after pleading guilty to conspiracy and lying to the fbi. with me now, former federal prosecutor, seth waxman. seth, thanks for being here and thank you for being willing to turn on a dime here and talk about a slightly different topic. this is perhaps earlier in the week than we had expected prosecutors to call rick gates, who of course was manafort's right-hand man. and we know from the opening of this trial that the defense is essentially going to try to argue that rick gates was really the one who did everything here that was illegal. walk us through -- you've been in the courtroom for high-stakes cases like this. walk us through what we're about to see in this

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